Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919). Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to His Children. 1919.

On the Eve of Election

White House, Oct. 15, 1904.

The weather has been beautiful the last week—mild, and yet with the true feeling of Fall in the air. When Mother and I have ridden up Rock Creek through the country round about, it has been a perpetual delight just to look at the foliage. I have never seen leaves turn more beautifully. The Virginia creepers and some of the maple and gum trees are scarlet and crimson. The oaks are deep red brown. The beeches, birches and hickories are brilliant saffron. Just at this moment I am dictating while on my way with Mother to the wedding of Senator Knox’s daughter, and the country is a blaze of color as we pass through it, so that it is a joy to the eye to look upon it. I do not think I have ever before seen the colorings of the woods so beautiful so far south as this. Ted is hard at work with Matt. Hale, who is a very nice fellow and has become quite one of the household, like good Mademoiselle. I am really fond of her. She is so bright and amusing and now seems perfectly happy, and is not only devoted to Archie and Quentin but is very wise in the way she takes care of them. Quentin, under parental duress, rides Algonquin every day. Archie has just bought himself a football suit, but I have not noticed that he has played football as yet. He is spending Saturday and Sunday out at Dr. Rixey’s. Ted plays tennis with Matt. Hale and me and Mr. Cooley. We tried Dan Moore. You could beat him. Yesterday I took an afternoon off and we all went for a scramble and climb down the other side of the Potomac from Chain Bridge home. It was great fun. To-morrow (Sunday) we shall have lunch early and spend the afternoon in a drive of the entire family, including Ethel, but not including Archie and Quentin, out to Burnt Mills and back. When I say we all scrambled along the Potomac, I of course only meant Matt. Hale and Ted and I. Three or four active male friends took the walk with us.

In politics things at the moment seem to look quite right, but every form of lie is being circulated by the Democrats, and they intend undoubtedly to spring all kinds of sensational untruths at the very end of the campaign. I have not any idea whether we will win or not. Before election I shall send you my guess as to the way the different States will vote, and then you can keep it and see how near to the truth I come. But of course you will remember that it is a mere guess, and that I may be utterly mistaken all along the line. In any event, even if I am beaten you must remember that we have had three years of great enjoyment out of the Presidency and that we are mighty lucky to have had them.

I generally have people in to lunch, but at dinner, thank fortune, we are usually alone. Though I have callers in the evening, I generally have an hour in which to sit with Mother and the others up in the library, talking and reading and watching the bright wood fire. Ted and Ethel, as well as Archie and Quentin, are generally in Mother’s room for twenty minutes or a half hour just before she dresses, according to immemorial custom.

Last evening Mother and I and Ted and Ethel and Matt. Hale went to the theatre to see “The Yankee Consul,” which was quite funny.